She is the leadoff batter for Barrington's softball team.
But on this night, Tess Bolger left as the game's closing hitter.
Barrington's No. 23 finished just like her all-time favorite athlete Michael Jordan used to when he hit all those game-winning shots for the Chicago Bulls.
Bolger hit a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Fillies a 13-2 victory (10-run rule) over visiting Palatine and keep them undefeated in the Mid-Suburban West at 6-0.
"I just loved how he (Jordan) came to play every game," said the senior center fielder, whose long blast well over the left-center field fence was the team's 22nd homer of the season and second grand slam (Morgan Olszewski had the other). "It was like every play mattered so much for him."
Bolger makes sure everyone of her at-bats matters.
And her final one on Wednesday -- the first grand slam she's hit in nearly 13 years of playing the game -- provided the Fillies their 16th win in 17 games.
"I didn't even know we were undefeated in conference," said Bolger, who collected 6 RBI by 2-for-4 with a 2-run double to right in the second inning. "We are just out there playing as hard as we can every game. We knew we had to be prepared for a tough game with Palatine (6-5, 2-1) all the way. It was definitely a team effort."
The Fillies finished with 15 hits, including Morgan Olszewski (3-for-4, 3 RBI), Loren Krzysko (3-for-4, 2 doubles, RBI), Krista Moore (1-for-2, walk sacrifice), Erin Ward (2-for-3, walk), Raegan Fingerman (RBI single), Maggie O'Hara (2-for-4, RBI) and Sam Rosenfeld (1-for-3).
Barrington sophomore ace Keenan Dolezal (11-1) gave up just one infield hit by Pirates ace Megan Hedstrom (6-4) to gain the win in five innings of work.
Fillies senior Cassidy Kraimer (5-0) threw the final inning, getting a strikeout and nifty 5-4-3 double play (Krzysko to Moore to Katie Dehnert) to end the game.
Palatine gained the early momentum by scoring 2 runs in the top of the second.
The Pirates loaded the bases with 2 walks and a dropped third strike, then Grace Rohrwasser drew a bases-loaded walks for 1-0 lead. Moments later Jules Udoni crossed the plate on a passed ball for the 2-0 cushion.
Barrington got the 2 runs back in the bottom of the inning on Bolger's 2-run double to right.
"Tess is such a great competitor," said Barrington coach Perry Peterson. "We count on Tess day-in and day -out. I was proud of our team's offensive ability against a quality senior pitcher."
The Pirates come back with a home game against Prospect today.
Coach Jeff Manz lost the services of third baseman Jamie Haze when she suffered a hand injury while batting in top of the third inning.
"The bottom line is that injury to Jamie," Manz said. "Because then we had to move kids around. We had momentum and then we made some errors. Then they got the momentum back. There's a reason they are who they are. We've just got to come back against Prospect (today)."
Barrington comes back against Conant today at 4:45 p.m. at the Fields of Dreams.
And Bolger will be back with the first grand slam of her softball career behind her.
"I was very happy it happened my senior year," she said. "I've always idolized all the girls who played here, like Allie DeWitt, Claire Voris, and all those Fillies I grew up watching."
Now she is one of them, a leadoff batter who can also close -- with a blast.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.